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Stories about ponies are stories about people. Every challenge is an opportunity to change. My Patrons let me keep writing, at: https://www.patreon.com/RealStarscribe



This story is a sequel to My Little Apprentice

The summer sun celebration brought the filly Second Chance into contact with one of the most powerful beings in Equestria, Discord. Thanks to him, she's got all her memories back, and has access to the powerful Jebr Stone. Will that be enough to save her dying species without sacrificing Equestria in the process? Nor is she the first traveler from her world to reach Equestria, or the only one with plans for it.

Will Chance's newfound friendships be enough to keep her sane and preserve Equestria through the dark times ahead?

Continued in MLA: Perihelion!

As usual, a huge thanks to Zutcha for the excellent cover, this time with shading!

Chapters (13)
Comments ( 240 )

"Glad to see you back with more content. Just remember the dialogue-tag rules," he said, rubbing his chin furtively. "I'll be watching."

"I won't let you down, Sevenfates," came the solemn reply.

Always weird to comment from my perspective, but I figured I should get better about giving you some non-editing feedback. This chapter certainly had some things in it. Some we've seen before, and much we didn't. Honestly, the two Chance-in-the-hospital scenes felt a bit samey, with Chance trying to convince Twilight. The most interesting section has to be the Brigid one, though, since that's really different from what we've seen already. And with an interesting character and some more on the Tower. Will love to see how things go with her and those drones.

I'll do my best to fix anything he misses when editing, but feel free to point them out if one slips past and Starscribe will fix it right quick.

Bree is new. I'm glad to see that the Steel Tower is getting more of a role in the revised version of the story. It'd be neat for the Steel Tower to make an appearance or at least get an agent on the ground prior to Harmony Defended. Perhaps Bree will be the counterpart to Second Chance?

Bridget is cute. I get this sort of impression from her:


A good start, so far! I still don't understand that mean old Discord though.

5634496 I figured I'd put ya's on watch about that point right away.
5634529 If I had to guess, Brigid and her +1 tie into the whole business regarding that Steel Tower emissary from the past... Do note, after all, that a lot of time-related shenanigans occur because of the seemingly imprecise nature of the initial bridges.
5634577 I had her pegged more along the lines of BlazBlue's Rachel Alucard.


If I had to guess, Brigid and her +1 tie into the whole business regarding that Steel Tower emissary from the past...

I always felt that was one of the weaker points of the story that could have really been expanded. Also as far as I know despite the knight being destroyed his cortex recorder survived, yet they never revived him in Harmony Defended, or even mention him to King Richard.

There actually weren't two chance-in-hospital scenes, that was with the old version we revised. The scenes didn't work out, so the one old scene from the previous version took the place of the second hospital scene. That said, there will be another one in the next chapter, so...

My original vision of this story had all of those things. I wouldn't give a plot breakdown from that old version, since so much of what we're going to be doing will be taking us down a road closer to the one I imagined, but... yeah. Expect Brigid to be a main character for the entire story, probably surviving into the third volume of the trilogy (not positive she'll live, guess we'll find out there).

Yeah, Discord sure was a huge jerk. I have a feeling we'll actually get to learn why from him this time.

That's because his whole plotarc played out in events between MLA and HD... events that I really should've gotten to in MLA. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it this time.

Hot dang, what I wouldn't do for a list of "every weakness/problem of My Little Apprentice."


Hot dang, what I wouldn't do for a list of "every weakness/problem of My Little Apprentice."

Well, a lot of it were issues that I was expecting would be address in Harmony Defended, or the one shot sequel to that.

Looking back, the entire gist of issues can basically be summed up into an accelerated ending to MLA once Discord helped Chance. Then suddenly it's Ten Years Later in the sequel and while the prologue did address some things, it couldn't cover everything.

As far as Harmony Defended goes, it has it's own set of issues of things occurring off-screen, else it would have been three times longer. While I appreciate that, there are at least a half dozen plot threads that are quietly dropped in Harmony Defended or only get a sentence or two addressed in the one shot sequel. I understand it's a one shot and thus couldn't be expected to cover everything without being a huge info dump, but there was a ton of world building done in Harmony Defended that just go unresolved.

In MLA I feel the Steel Tower really gets the short end of the focus stick despite being played up as an important force. The vision of the future in MLA really screwed with the Steel Tower as it was always portrayed as The Deal With The Devil, yet it didn't come to pass and wasn't fully explained why it didn't come to pass. They had agents that did things off screen and in the past, only barely addressed. I think the reason at the time was because you deferred that plot point into Harmony Defended, but that spiraled into a mess so quickly that the vision was no longer important, despite being a huge presence in MLA. Second Chance was only possible, after all, because Celestia knew she would appear and had the spell ready for her, and I always thought it was because of the Steel Tower's agent mentioning it to her because from their perspective it occurred in the past.

That's what I get for not actually re-reading it I suppose. Though in the future, we should be doing the final editing run-through on the version posted to fimfiction anyways.

Just from the perspective of how the technological development of Equestria progresses I've been curious about this part of the timeline, and more fun with Chance and the CMC (and eventually Pipsqueak!) is icing on the delicious cake.

And that scene with Brigid and Tesla inside what I can only assume is the Steel Tower computer system is fascinating. I wasn't expecting any earth-side content in this particular story.

Am I right in saying I should wait for this one to finish before reading HD? :3
Thought I'd ask cause I'm having a bit of trouble determining if HD is a direct sequel to MLA or if the sequelness was switched to this one because of the rewrite.

So, the short answer is that you understand enough to understand HD, but there are specific events mentioned in that story that haven't happened yet in MLA, or won't happen the same way in this rewrite. If you've read the original version (with all the chapters that are no longer posted) you should be okay to go ahead and read HD. If you stopped at 16 with discord, than you should probably wait.

Yeah I just found the story a week or two ago, and read it in the past few days.
I'll wait! Just hope it isn't too long...:pinkiecrazy:
Like the story though.

Ah, you're back!:pinkiehappy:

Intriguing plot branch with the Steel Tower and Brigid/Bree, if a little confusing (for now). I do look forward to hearing more about the past Earth/Equestria interactions; with everything going on in HD I forgot that that was never really explained (even the timeline was never clear).

Oh hey, it's that changeling, but which that do I mean, I wonder?:raritywink:

Great chapter again, and non of last chapter's issues are jumping out at me.

On one hand the heavy-handedness of that truth spell kind of bothers me, especially when used on an apparent child, but on the other it was nice that they were able to shortcut right past the problem of Chance's story being unbelievable.

And now there's a changeling who is going to be important.

I really like how you are developing the changlings more. This is shaping up to be epic!

Well, another week, another chapter. Figured I should get some comments down before I start editing the next chapter so I don't get mixed up. Not sure I've got a lot to say on this one. The Chance sections still feel like set up for the main story so there's only so much interest I have in them. Definitely some nice establishment for Chance's character, and the talk with the psychologist is really complimented by her flashbacks in the next section. Hearing how chance is now and comparing it to how she was while human... She sounds a bit like Twilight, really. Hopefully her guardian will help steer her away from following in her hoofsteps. Oh, and I just wanted to say that turning her out-of-hospital party into her cuteceanera was very clever, and a cute way to get the conversation about what her cutie mark means.

Of course, there's also the obligatory changeling section. Though... I keep forgetting that these ones haven't actually been introduced yet in this story. Huh. Weird. Well, all the same, it's interesting getting a perspective on Chrysalis, and some lore on the hive and... one of it's more unusual drones. Thinking about it now, there's a lot about that drone just thrust out there which might be a little confusing to someone who doesn't know who it is. All this stuff about killing them and them coming back. Which could still work, just be careful you answer the questions brought up about it at a reasonable pace.

But yes, overall we seem to still be in the preliminary, introductory stage of the story. It would seem Chance has some sort of scheme in mind with regards to the CMC, though, which I assume we'll be seeing some more of next chapter. Looking forward to that.

But that's just my 2 bits.

Your Faithful Editor,
Two Bit

I appreciate the time you took to list all those off. Of course, the problems with H.D. will be dealt with later on (one problem at a time). I'm glad nothing you mentioned about MLA was a surprise to me, because that would mean I wouldn't be writing about them. Instead of getting two scenes in all of MLA, we'll be seeing the Steel Tower in every other chapter, along with the other human agents in equestria during the even-numbered chapters. Hopefully that ends up satisfying...

I always felt like the Tower ended up shortchanged, so... we do get to see a few earth scenes. There might be a few more as the story goes on. I only know of two more, but... I can't promise we won't see more earth stuff in the third part of the trilogy.

Not sure. I'm guessing most of the people who enjoyed MLA haven't found this sequel yet. Also, it hasn't been featured yet. Not sure if/when it'll happen.

Yeah, I really, really hope I can fix the timeline with this story. And when I fix H.D, I'll work from an actual timeline that I've made, so the events end up making more sense.

Excellent! I always have to keep an eye out for those tags...

Well, none of those characters should be new. They're just... ponies I thought deserved more attention than they got in the last version.

"Misses Halko."

Is this referring to two women whose surnames are Halko? Or are you referring to a woman whose married name is Halko? If it is the latter scenario, I'm fairly certain what you are looking for is Missus.:raritywink:

Wait, wait wait wait wait wait.

Charles? As in Sir Charles Grey? As in Grey Vigil?

What... are you going to rewrite your own canon? I love Charles, but if keeping with canon there isn't that much that can be done with him, unless he will be changed in a significant way.

Not that I mind, he was the likeable face of The Steel Tower. I liked Grey Vigil too, though I wonder if you'll be going down that path so soon, if ever again. An honest challenge to Second Chance's presence.

A super AI helping the CMC get their cutie marks? What could possibly go wrong? :derpytongue2:

It feels a bit odd to see Twilight cast in the role of expecting a limited population carrying capacity for Equus, but I suppose if you have no idea what advances technology can bring to farming it would be easy to think that.

There we go, the root of the "Abandon Earth? Fix Earth!" plan, I approve.

She shrugged. "Is Charles home yet?"
Halko shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not. You know how busy he's been ever since they made him a knight." She lowered her voice, and her eyes darkened a little. "Meaning no disrespect to His Grace, but I do wish he had chosen someone better."

Interesting. I was hoping we'd get to see some backstory for Charles in the flesh, so to speak.

Bree is going to be an interesting character. The story might shift a bit from her presence. I can't wait for more.

I believe you are right, good sir. I've changed it to reflect her married title. Unless the title doesn't apply to a widow. I'm a little shaky with titles and stuff like this.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will promise that I definitely do NOT intend to rewrite my cannon or invalidate H.D. That doesn't mean things in MLA aren't going to happen differently. If they weren't, I wouldn't have separated this out as its own story, just made a few revisions to the existing posting. I think tomorrow morning you'll understand how this is possible, once you've read the scene with Charles in it. We get to see a little of the stuff I had intended HD to cover, until it got completely out of hand. I think it fits better in a character piece like MLA.

Wish? Granted.

As to the population things, that actually took a little research. I've been modeling a great deal about pony technology and society on mid-1800s level. I figured it made the most sense to base pony beliefs on something people actually thought in the real world, as opposed to pulling it completely out of the air.

Yeah, I really like Bree. And I like having a balance. She was actually on the roster for MLA the first time, but didn't make it because the story got away from me. She fills the same role as Charles did in H.D; the Tower's answer to Chance's Federation. I wanted to make it very clear that just because Chance doesn't like the Tower very much doesn't mean they're going to be generic bad guys. Even moreso in this story, where the Tower's goals are violently opposed to the main characters. Just because you're working at cross purposes doesn't mean one of you is evil. Even if both of you might think the other one is.

5707869 From what I just looked up, the title remains after marriage, or so long as she chooses to keep her deceased husband's surname.

I must have skipped over something when I read Bree's last appearance, because it wasn't until this chapter that I clued in that she was presently inside a simulation/virtual world.

Did Celestia seriously have to make the spell turn her into a pony? Surely anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that preserving her original form would be greatly beneficial to any kind of mental healing and that any alterations to it would be greatly damaging to her psyche and as the main issue here is her sanity then fitting in with the populace should have been secondary.

If discord really did nothing to alter her physically then that means all she had to do was touch the cube to unlock it in the first place, the first thing I would have done if in her position would be to try it regardless of the fact that I had been altered, to be honest.

Fair 'nuf that the void between worlds has horrors that make links to their victims through memories but I refuse to believe that the only way to resolve that issue is the removal of the memories. Celestia and Luna obviously at least know of them or Celestia would not have know to build the memory filter into the spell in the first place and they aren't being attacked by the void horrors.

They can't chase after a few thousand that might've been taken anywhere in Europe when the reactors might all stop running tomorrow.

There's been a bunch of things that hinted at it before, but I don't think it's really been confirmed: Do the Tower control Europe and the Federation control the Americas?

I guess it's not something likely to make much of a difference, but with that in mind, is Bree originally from Ireland? Her name and description seem to support it, somewhat.

Mostly I ask because it kind of amuses me to have Bree be from the Emerald Isle and Chance from the Emerald City...

(nods) Yep, it's always been virtual. WELCOME TO THE TOWER.

Lots of issues to talk about here. Let's go through one at a time.

1. Your point here was essentially that Celestia should've kept Chance human.

That would've been great if it was possible. Think for a moment about how difficult it must be to make a body from scratch. The human body has hundreds of bones, miles of veins, and 3.72 * 10^13 cells.

True, Celestia's power is clearly sufficient to make a body from scratch, as evidenced by her ability to make a pony body for Chance (and for herself, but that's beside the point). But this is the species she's lived with for thousands and thousands of years. She probably knows pony anatomy better than any-pony in Equestria. Better than the most-skilled surgeons, considering the power of magical senses. I don't personally write her as an outright Godess with a capital G, but she is certainly a classification of life well beyond everyone else (except perhaps Truth and certain others from the ending of H.D.),

I'm sure Celestia would agree with you. She would've loved to make Chance human. Unfortunately, the only human we know for sure she's ever met was a full synthetic android, who she only knew for a few years before his death... who was an entirely different form of life that Chance wouldn't have chosen to be even if she had been given a choice between that and becoming a pony (which, for all we know, may've happened). Celestia /can't/ make a human body.

2. Did discord not change her physically?

Honestly I'm not sure Chance knew what she were talking about if she said she hadn't been physically changed (Or Twilight, who could only judge based on what she said). There's absolutely no chance a magical pony body made by a spell would have her exact human genes from earth.

3. Luna and Celestia must know about the Void Horrors

Actually no, that's what makes the memory spell so awesome. Knowing /that/ there are awful things between worlds is not itself a cancerous thought. It's actually knowing about them that's dangerous. The memory filter spell doesn't have a list of things to erase, because you're right, that would require them to have the knowledge of what to filter.

The filter spell, if you read the discription of it carefully, works not by elimiating forbidden things, but gradually returning memories as they fit with the context of what's happening in Chance's pony life. Think of it like a genetic algorithm. As it learns what life is "supposed to be", it learns what memories are safe and returns them. Over time it gets better and better, and returns them more quickly over time. Perhaps the more obscure, directly-human things (such as how to program quantum computers) with no Equestrian analogues would have taken a longer time to emerge or never showed up at all.

But we'll never know now. The memory spell didn't erase anything, it only restricted recall. Everything has been returned to Chance all at once. We'll never know if Celestia's original plan would've worked.

So, I haven't talked about it too much, but your guess is accurate. The Steel Tower controlls Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Federation controls North and South America, Asia, Australia, and South Africa. Bree is indeed from Ireland, though we don't know more about what part. Charles is from Finland, and... yeah, Chance is from Seattle. REAL WORLD PLACES.

Wow, a literal noodle incident. And wow x2, it took Chance down hard. I suppose she was just a case of shock waiting for the right trigger.

While she poured power into the scroll searching for codes and secret messages, she completely missed the spell she was powering with her own energy, until it was too late and her body simply dropped unconscious right where she was standing.


Now that was an unpleasant nightmare. Thanks goodness for Luna.

The princess released her. "When your present body was created, only some of your memories traveled with you. The rest were stored in the matrix of the spell. As you became more a part of Equestria, the life you lived helped the spell cast away those few thoughts and feelings that did not belong within the physical universe. Since the Darkness only returns in your weakened, sleeping state, it seems the spell had nearly run its course." She shook her head. "What Discord has done to you cannot be undone."

Dang, now that's a problem. Thanks, Discord!

Slaving rings? Apparently life in the Tower servers isn't as much of a guaranteed safe existence as I would have thought. Sounds like a good mission for our budding knight.

An off-planet mission for a member of the Tower? I wasn't really imagining that they had much orbital capacity. Based on the other stories I kind of had figured that the organic colonies had that buttoned up pretty well.

Most of the times sequels are never as populair as the original story on fimfiction. It could be because the last part ended so abruptly, I really couldn't tell you that.

I can tell you one thing though; keep on writing and keep on enjoying to write and to believe in your work and people will come eventually.

Wow, I thought there was enough going on the last time around....

Not that I can blame the CMC but this kind of feels like cheating.

Thanks, I appreciate you letting me know you're still here. Every comment helps. ^^

You're actually exactly right. The Tower no longer has orbital capability. The Federation does, though at this point I imagine it only has one interplanetary ship still running (Probably the Ageis, the only one that was on Mars during the whole war. By the time it got to earth all the fighting was over). Charles has been virtual since the war ended, though. He probably doesn't know orbital capacity doesn't exist anymore. He assumes the mission must be off planet because he assumes the big important mission must be pacifing the lunar or martial colonies.

He's the one making an incorrect assumption. Bree doesn't correct him on it, because he's totally wrong about where the mission is, and that's much more urgent.

Thanks, I'll do that. It's important to me I improve the quality of MLA, even if it doesn't seem like many of the old readers have found out about it yet. (shrugs) There are still some people here, so I haven't got discouraged yet.

Assuming it even works. Can an AI really predict something that Equestria's magic is supposed to determine? In the comics even Discord couldn't help them.

Finally, getting back into the prophecies!

The Outsiders were responsible for Nightmare Moon? Sounds legit.

My only guess as to why fewer people have read this so far compared to the other stories, is that they're waiting on some sort of full size sequel to the later stories and not paying attention to the first one (to spot a sequel to that). That theory falls down however because there is no notification for sequels.

I can't even remember how I found this in between story existed. Perhaps I saw it on the front page somewhere.


A mid-quel is admittedly pretty difficult to spot. People might have read the sequel to this too, and not wanted to go back.

I'm enjoying it though. Brigid is... a very vulnerable character. I like how you had the cyclopean horrors of the deep exaggerating Chance's troubled past in order to get at her. Also how you formed an equivalency between thought and being. Some things are so dangerous that even the memory of them can be dangerous, long after you're out of their reach.

Yeah, kindof a bummer either way. I tagged the original with a blog post, but that was about he only thing I could do. I have thought about adding the prologue I never finished to MLA with a note pointing people here, but that hasn't yet materialized. Too busy working on this to put together a really deep, psychological type prologue thing I guess.

You found it! Yeah, I like Brigid quite a bit. She thinks she's this godlike superior life form, but... well, she's clearly got her weaknesses. A joy to write about, that's for sure.

It is nice to revisit the one scene that most stayed with me from the original (the vision).

The twins have names this time around? Are they going to to avoid dropping off the face of the story, too?

Yes and yes. They're not going to vanish from existence.

I like the build-up to Chrysalis preparing Chance's double. I hope we get to see a bit more of Chance with her changeling double this time around - that was one of the things that got skipped over between stories last time that I had been looking forward to seeing.

Noo! Charles! You must go with Bree to Equestria! :fluttercry:

Dun dun duun! Foreshadowing!

Okay, the two visions. It's been too long since I read MLA, I just don't really remember how much of this is from it and how much is new material.

Wow, the Precursor Cult ponies had some very specific details.

Chance gasped, rushing up to the edge of the illustration and gesturing with a sudden panicked intensity. "Lyra, Lyra, what are these?" She gestured at the apparent seams in the limbs, along with what was clearly a dataport on the underside of the wrist. She nearly shouted, voice fearful. "What is this doing here?"

Haha, now that's a sure fire way to set Chance off.

Oh hell, they sent Clover's rift spell diagrams to Avalon. I guess that explains the accident and how the city ended up in Equestria of all places, they were working with data that influenced that particular outcome. I wonder that means that Clover's trip is what first linked the two universes together, and that everything else is fallout from her visit?

A tablet computer? It's a start, and I definitely have an opinion on the proper dragons movies to show.

5735903 this story didn't appear in my feed, nor the blog announcing it was released. I think I didn't have the original mla story fav'd.

Well, issue fixed and reading progressing :)

It wasn't that the memories themselves give you sympathy with Outside Darkness. Your memories of that fel place are themselves an Outsider, intelligent and growing in strength and power.

Well, that doesn't sound like good news for Bree, does it? And she doesn't even have anyone who can tell her what's happening.

Maybe she'll be able to figure out a digital version of the magic used on Chance, using her forked personality as the dumping ground for the Outsider...

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